Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SAP Documentation and Your Questions

Here is a district documented created for the Operations Committee by Nate Van Duzer, Director of Policy and Board Relations.  It's labeled: Student Assignment Plan "Transition" Label.
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Basically:
This memo examines the implications of formally retiring the 2009 NSAP.

Page two is a grid that goes section by section thru the NSAP and issues for each section.

I did smile at Section III - Attendance Area Schools - Open Choice Seats at Attendance Area High Schools.  To the best of my knowledge, this has never been used.  And, when I pointed that out to Mr. Duzer, stating that the original language had been 10% choice seats, he said it was never 10%.  I'm sure in the final SAP it wasn't but yes, that was the talk all along.

But, as I told him, that should be out because it was never used and will simply add to the confusion, it should be gone.

To create a new SAP out of a hodge-podge of changes is folly.

Or, at least, what needs to happen with this document is that it needs to be online with links to the SAP and all appropriate documents.  Because there needs to be a single red-lined document that can be read by all.  

The memo ends:
However, if there are director or community concerns about ensuring specific pieces of the NSAP live on and where that language may be located, staff are willing to talk through those concerns or leave the "transition" label in place. 
First, it's big of staff to be "willing" to talk about this.

Second, what does "talk through" truly mean?

Third, I have not found this document at the website.  Was the staff planning to just drop it at the upcoming meetings and let people figure this out on their own?

I will be writing to the Board about this issue but I invite you to submit questions here and I will include them.

117 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is Nate Van Duzer - a former Tim Burgess staffer - writing these memos and setting these policy directions? People's alarm bells should be going off at this.

Arthur Denny

Anonymous said...

Where is the draft SAP for people to review? It needs to be released prior to the meetings.

What are the "recommended adjustments to advanced learning" and what's the basis for that recommendation? Is there a document that summarizes the Thought Exchange survey,, the AL review, and any sort of cost-benefit analysis they've done re: this issue? Or did the recommendations (of whom?) come first, and the community engagement was for show? Where does the HCS Advisory Committee stand on these recs? This sounds a lot like what happened with the 24-credit task force, where the survey was a joke and the results were twisted to say what they wanted, then they came up with a final recommendation that wasn't all that feasible or popular so then, apparently, is being disregarded in favor of something still TBD, or maybe not, nobody really knows....

Don't they learn? No big changes without carefully anslyzing the options first. You know, basic things, like feasibility and costs.

DisAPPointed

kellie said...

I read this analysis and I am really glad that staff is “ok” with keeping the “transition” label and I strongly hope the board keeps that label. This analysis as well as the high school boundary recommendations show a deep lack of institutional memory.

The 2009 SAP was the result of over 7 years of planning and 5 years of community engagement. The planning for the 2009 SAP started shortly after SPS lost the Supreme Court case about the use of the racial tie breaker. Ironically, that case was started because QA/Mag did not have a high school and the plaintiffs believed that the racial tie breaker was preventing QA/Mag students from being able to attend either Garfield or Ballard, the two closest high schools.

The 2009 SAP document contains many protections for families that will just be lost if the word “transition” is removed and none of that is detailed in this memo.

The 2009 SAP states clearly that all students will be permitted to remain at their enrolled school through the highest grade, in the event of boundary changes. This is why a board vote was required to geo-split students to open JAMS. Only the board could approve removing students from their enrolled school.

Many staff members took the opening of JAMS as permission to geo-split students as they see fit. This is why there was a plan to geo-split 850 elementary students to open Cedar Park. And why so many of the high school scenarios involve crazy things like ... lets take 250 students out of Ingraham and then move 250 different studetns into Ingraham. Sigh.

There are many staff members who believe that any student in a new boundary should be moved to that new school, regardless of whether or not there is a capacity reason to do this. If the word “transition” remains in place then students can only be geo-split by a board vote. If that word is removed, then ... there is no predictability for families.

This policy about protecting a student’s ability to remain at their enrolled school, was created in response to copious parent testimony as well as extensive data analysis that showed that when students were moved from a closed school to a new school only about 80% of those students remained in the district and at least 20% left the district rather than move to the new school.

kellie said...

I understand the frustration with the transition label. After all, how many years could it take to fully transition to the 2009 NSAP.

Well, the answer is .. could be never. The heart of the attendance area assignment plan was middle school feeder patterns for grade K to 8, with an independent system for high school. We still have multiple exceptions to that feeder pattern plan. In 2009, it was crystal clear we did not have enough capacity to fully implement the plan and it was going to take time. Maybe more than a decade.

Seattle is a swiftly growing city. The 2013 BEX and subsequent Growth Boundaries plan was not enough capacity to fully realize the goals of the SAP. Parts fo the city with more stable enrollment have benefited greatly from the middle school feeder pattern program. However, the areas with new school are still indeed ... transitioning.

An annual SAP process is going to be required regardless of the transition word, so there is no real benefit to staff to drop the word and major losses to students and families with its removal.

kellie said...

The 10% set aside at high school was one of the most confusing aspects of the NSAP.

Many folks thought this would preserve some choice seats at high school. However, that is not possible to set aside choice seats in an attendance area plan. This how Spectrum eroded because Spectrum was reliant on set aside choice seats.

The way the 10% set aside at high school was built is a little different. Most of the high schools had their attendance area boundaries established at 10% below the school’s capacity. This was done using generally accepted planning tools used by public schools with a student yield rate per number of city blocks. Cleveland, Center and Nova were established as “option schools” at roughly 10% of high school capacity.

The choice process then became a game of musical chairs. As students elected the high school option seats, this would vacate an attendance area seat that could then be backfilled by a choice student.

The process was created by drawing the boundaries for Ballard, Roosevelt and Garfield at least 10% smaller than expected. However, as we all know, those school became quickly over-subscribed by the annual enrollment increases. With the opening of Lincoln and addition at Ingraham, it is once again possible to draw boundaries in such a way as to create some genuine choice for high school students.

Using the 2009 SAP as a guiding document would require staff to help re-create choice seats for high school. However, this was not part of the guiding information for the high school task force. The ludicrous “new plan” of aligning middle and high school boundaries would prevent any meaningful choice, ever for high school. If the 2009 SAP is sunset, then the language about high school and the important of preserving choice for high school students is also lost.

Grouchy Parent said...

I am confused why some of these high schools are following alternative philosophies but are not considered option schools. In elementary school, it's pretty clear that the option schools are free to pick an alternative pedagogical strategy that is different from the assignment area elementary schools. But at the high school level, I don't understand how a principal's vision for a school (like how Hale's principal wants accelerated students to repeat coursework and be forcibly de-accelerated) can be forced on students for whom that isn't a good fit. At the elementary level project-based learning is a choice, but for students who go to Lincoln High School, it will be mandatorily imposed. I predict families will leave the public schools rather than be forced into a specialized pedagogical philosophy that they don't think will be a good fit for their students.

NESeattleMom said...

Hi grouchy parent, Is that the policy of Hale's principal? I am concerned about Hale's blocking schedule. My friend's daughter does not have LA or Soc St. now--her best subjects. My 9th grader in precalc would be bored to distraction if he had to repeat Algebra. We don't have financial option of private school nor scholarships. My kid wants a regular high school experience...

Anonymous said...

@ NESeatteMom, what do you mean "your friend's daughter does not have LA or Soc. St. now"??? Four years of LA are required for graduation.

Hale offers AP Calc AB (but not BC) and AP Stats, so your son shouldn't need to repeat math. The repetition is generally in science, where HCC students have to repeat 2 years' worth (physical science and biology).

unclear

NESeattleMom said...

unclear, From what my friend told me (and I didn't quite get) the first quarter is Health and something else in a block. Then I went to the Hale website and found the same thing listed in their various complicated bell schedule documents. The minutes may add up in a year, but not in Q1.
Thanks for your info.

Anonymous said...

@unclear, if a student is taking Precalc in 9th, they would need AP Calc BC to have 4 years of math: Precalc > AP Calc AB > AP Calc BC > AP Stats

It is not so easy to just take one course through Running Start - it may be offered mid morning, at a time that would conflict with other high school classes, and you are covering the equivalent of a year's worth material in one quarter. It can be challenging to keep up with the RS course and the other high school courses. Another example is Engineering (Calculus based) Physics. It may meet for 1 hour 2x per week, then 3 hours on another day (labs), which makes it difficult to fit in with a high school schedule.

This only impacts a small number of students (meaning SPS will provide few options), but these few students could be served if cohorted (or happened to attend Roosevelt or Ballard...).

It's pie in the sky thinking to believe HC students will be served in neighborhood schools. Sure, a portion of them may well be, but by dispersing students they are pretty much absolving themselves of the responsibility to serve a good portion of them, who were moderately accommodated by cohorting students. It's like two steps back, one step forward.

two steps

NESeattleMom said...

Thanks two steps, for the info. I am concerned about my kid's next three years.
I am also concerned about the homeless kids at Lowell, in the recent KUOW article. They need more support from SPS.

http://kuow.org/post/district-didnt-want-us-visit-struggling-seattle-school

Anonymous said...

How does Running Start work if high school class schedules are not the typical 6 period day? Running Start classes are generally offered 8AM-12, with some evening classes and a few scheduled early afternoon, so students can take RS classes in the AM and still take a few HS classes in the afternoon. If schools switched to block scheduling (a 7 period day seems like it would force block scheduling), where classes meet at different times each day, it seems students would be forced into full-time Running Start.

wondering

NESeattleMom said...

wondering, Also don't count on RS for spring semester senior year for graduation requirements. At my older's HS in spring 2016, there were a number of graduation problems (for "walking" in graduation) where the student couldn't "walk" because of their RS class grades not being final on graduation day.

Anonymous said...

@ two steps, yes, but only 3 years of math are REQUIRED. I assume they don't have to offer a continuum beyond what's required.

@ wondering, a 7-period day doesn't required block schedules--you can just have 7 slightly shorter periods. As for how RS neatly fits in with schedules, it doesn't. Not only do daily schedules not necessarily align, but terms--and vacations--differ, too. It can be kind of messy.

unclear

Anonymous said...

I know this is pie in the sky thinking, but if disbanding the HCC pathway meant that every neighborhood school would offer AP Stats or Physics with Calculus (not impossible - my diverse high school 20 years ago offered all of this), I would support disbanding the HCC pathway. I would love to strengthen the classes offered at my and every other neighborhood high school in Seattle.

But yes, I do agree that SPS should take steps to strengthen the academics at all of the neighborhood schools first before they attempt to disband the HCC program.

-NW Mom

Anonymous said...

@ NW Mom, it is strange that Seattle can't manage this. My podunk hometown with a not-so-well-educated populace per (approx. 14% have bachelor's degree per most recent data) managed to provide AP Calc and AP Physics (or maybe it was Chemistry) when I was there 30 years ago. It was only one class of each, but still, they made the effort.

NESeattleMom said...

And, it is good to think of the PE requirement (3 semesters). Some high school(s) provide an academic PE waiver that requires all four years to have had six classes, no study halls, no TAs. So if taking RS means not having a full 6 periods, then PE might need to be taken or else do 5 hr per week in directed physical activity outside of school to get an athletic PE waiver.

Anonymous said...

Hale only uses the block schedule and the academies for freshman. Freshman classes are longer and alternate quarter to quarter. They get a full year of Science, Health, LA, and Social Studies but they don't take all 4 at once. They take 2 in Q1 and Q3. They then take the other 2 in Q2 and Q4. Hale's freshman class is divided into 3 academies which have the same group of teachers for each academy so a class of 300 would be divided into groups of 100. Those 100 are then divided into groups of 50 and then classes of 25. It is way of making a large school smaller and allows the teachers to get to know the kids in their academy.

All of the high schools have remnants of programs offered when they were choice schools. Hale's was set up then to attract students to Hale. And at the time it did and still does.

HP

Anonymous said...

Wow, there must be a lot of kids having to repeat classes at Hale since JAMS puts Spectrum kids into HCC classes and those kids can't then choose to go anywhere but Hale.

hcc/sped/gened parent

Anonymous said...

Where the *blank* is the actual new proposal for the SAP? No where on the district website, or attached to meeting agendas, or anywhere else.

Just makes me suspect the worst when it is kept so hidden. Is it really so horrible to families and students that it needs to be held as such a secret? Pandora's box?

-StepJ

kellie said...

I checked with the board office. The document that Nate created compared the 2009 SAP with the 2017-2018 Transition Plan.

The upcoming 2018-19 "Transition" Plan is scheduled to be introduced to the board at the work session on Oct 25. Until it is officially introduced, there are no official copies.

kellie said...

A transparent assignment plan is fundamentally what separates public schools from charters and vouchers.

The Assignment Plan is the mechanism by which the public accesses public education. All of the rules for how students are assigned and what education options are available for assignment are in the Assignment Plan. These rules are required to be created with public input then administered equally.

As such, one way to think of the Assignment plan is as a "power-sharing" document between district administration and the public.

Some districts like San Francisco, New Orleans and the old SAP, are very strongly choice based with very limited ability for the school district to do direct assignment. While there is lots of choice, there is little guarantee and premium choice options are typically challenging to secure. Other districts have little or no choice and your address is your school and that is the beginning, middle and end of the process.

It is quite natural for parents to prefer choice and for districts to prefer mandatory assignment. The national conversation around "choice" really reflects this dynamic.

The current 2009 SAP is compromise document that falls right in the middle of these two extremes. There is guaranteed assignment, plus multiple choice options. Choice systems require more administration to manage and to make transparent. Since long time enrollment chief Tracy Libros retired, it is quite expected that the new people, without the deep institutional memory of how and why this change was created would simply prefer that the district move further away from choice and toward simple mandatory assignments. It is just less complicated.

Because of capacity issues and last year's profound budget woes, downtown has chosen to interpret the choice options as conservatively as possible and provide the bare minimum of choice seats. Option seats must be filled. Pathway seats must be honored. But "promises" made outside of the SAP, like Whitman families may remain at Whitman and will not be geo-split, did not need to be honored.

The reluctance to honor choice seats wherever possible as per the SAP has been very frustrating for many families. The reason why this "transition" plan matters is that if the "transition label" is removed then all of the compromises built into the 2009 SAP are then lost.

Frankly, the way this has worked in other places around the country is that once these reasonable choice options are gone, then charters become the norm.

With the opening of Meany and Eagle Staff there is once again the system wide capacity to provide meaningful choice at middle school. With the opening of Lincoln and the addition and Ingraham in 2019, there will be the ability to provide meaningful choice for high school students. IMHO, this is quite tragic that at the exact moment where the 2009 SAP choice options could be honored and implemented, district staff are moving in the direction of as little choice as possible.

Anonymous said...

@Grouchy Parent "I am confused why some of these high schools are following alternative philosophies but are not considered option schools"

I am guessing because we used to have an option system. When we moved to neighborhood assignment patterns, the differences between high schools became a big issue.

In my opinion, planning for new schools needs to take our new assignment policies into account. Lincoln's programming should offer AP classes just like Ballard and Roosevelt. I have spoken to future Lincoln families who are very upset. Many are fleeing to apply to private schools.

There is a VERY large constituent from Hamilton (1/2?) who are taking advanced classes. These kids need the appropriate classes. The fact that this principal is planning for her own vision in conflict with what a large majority want/needs is terrible. Dual language is advocating. All future Lincoln families wanting AP also need to advocate loudly.
-advocate

Anonymous said...

How is it equitable that some kids have pathways pulled out in high school (HCC) while other kids (dual language) have pathways?

I remember Blanford who has a dual language immersion program student stating something to the effect at a board meeting "there had better be a pathway for dual language".

As advanced learning, special ed, ELL are all protected in the WAC, but all treated terrible, protecting a pathway for dual language seems kind of strange.

And what gives? If you are going to change or eliminate a pathway..... do it earlier! They just opened an HCC elementary and middle school programs.

Yet some kids might be getting sent back to high schools without the appropriate courses. This district makes no sense.
-rant

Locking the Gap said...

I was just listening to education reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones (who just won a MacArthur Genius Grant) talk about how school integration is one of the only tools that has been shown to decrease the achievement gap. The data shows it works. We know it works. It's best for kids. Here's the episode of This American Life:
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with

Desegregation (during the 17 years Seattle had forced busing) apparently cut the achievement gap from 40% to 18%. I get that the real problem is where we're all living and schools can't really change that. And that racial tiebreakers can't be used. But I don't understand how the district can have as a major goal for the new SAP to align all the elementary -> middle -> high school feeder patterns. Locking everyone in this way PRESERVES the geographical separation between different neighborhoods. It becomes actually impossible to choose a different school or a different program, whether you're choosing for more diversity or a specific approach or a kind of curriculum. This approach to the SAP reduces flexibility that would allow families to desegregate by choice and it locks everyone into the relatively segregated neighborhood assignments. So it won't just reinforce the achievement gap--it will lock it in and make it impossible for families to make choices that could improve the gap. That sucks. And it shows that closing the gap is the last thing on the district's mind.

Locking that Gap in Stone!

Anonymous said...

@locking that Gap in Stone-- Yes, but that being said, I have friends (middle class and of color) who really resented their kids being bussed out of their neighborhood up north.In addition, with the traffic situation (was not as much of an issue back then) neighborhood schools makes much more sense. I also believe many more parents sent kids to private school in the past, so did that skew the numbers? Were more of the middle and affluent missing?

But that being said, there should be some choice built into the system. Also, priority all kids need to have courses that align in their next course pathway. Parents being concerned schools will have kids repeat courses. That is nonsense! That is just basic education for all, not to mention it is indeed a WAC for the HCC kids to have access to advanced courses.
-a reader

Anonymous said...

So this also means that kids who are enrolled in academies will be taken out of their schools as well and sent to the new assignment school. What a mess. How many kids would you guess this will effect? I have seen what this district has done to the HCC kids sent from HIMS to JAMS and Eaglestaff in their last school year etc.
-PT

Anonymous said...

The other thread on the SAP talks about a 50 minute bus commute from Magnolia if those students go to Lincoln. Younger yellow bus kids have commutes of that length so it's not the
worst for high school kids. But that's before athletics are considered. Do we know where Lincoln kids will practice sports? Add another 30 minutes in a zero period or after school to reach a location farther away than Lincoln and that seems untenable.

Another logistical question: Music. To fill programs and offer higher classes, my guess is that juniors are going to be asked to move schools two years from now. The preferred task force option will move the most students around. Won't that hurt the students and the programs with robust music programs? Juniors are often in the most advanced bands, right?

Also what about Ballard's academy programming? And kids enrolled in the IB program at Ingraham? Not the HCC kids...the ones who enrolled as part of the neighborhood.

I worry even if the enrollment office has done its best to analyze data that the resulting program impacts haven't had as deep a dive.

Worried mom

Anonymous said...

@ worried mom, I doubt the enrollment office has given any thought to program impacts, academic programming, etc. Not their domain. They are just looking at the kids as widgets. Race, income, ELL, and SpEd status, yes, but not whether or not kids will get the academics they need. Which is kind of the point of school, isn't it?

oy

Anonymous said...

Oy, I don't actually think the enrollment office should look at my program questions. They have a big enough job. I just hope beyond hope I suppose that the academics side of management has sat with enrollment and with community members in the task force and have worked through these sort of issues. Or at least that with final decisions being made that they will think through them now. I hope staff is reading this blog is what I am saying.

I know that this will not be a perfect transition but I just hope that for each of these types of programming questions they have looked at them and at least said 'this is the best we can do' or best case 'here's where we will do mitigation or a special exception to smooth the transition.' Even a 'we can't fix this' would be better than 'we didn't think of that.

Worried mom

Anonymous said...

@Grouchy Parent, is it a done deal that Lincoln will be project-based learning and limited in AP options? I thought many of these things are TBD.

Thanks,

asdf

Anonymous said...

@ worried mom, I agree 100%. But honestly, I don't think they're working together on it, and I don't think anyone downtown is working to identify and address the concerns. I'd love to be wrong about this, but the lack of information available, lack of true community engagement (which would help daylight issues they hadn't thought of), staff inability to answer questions on some of these issues, and, frankly, precedent, suggest the in-depth analyses haven't been done.

oy

Anonymous said...

@asdf, if you had attended the Lincoln planning meeting, you'd think the plan was PBL and wonder if there were plans for any AP offerings at all. There was no one from Teaching and Learning (at least no one was introduced). It's like they've handed the planning over to the principal as a fun project. From what I remember, it was just the principal, Rick Burke, the architect and someone from facilities.

not encouraged

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Desegregation (during the 17 years Seattle had forced busing) apparently cut the achievement gap from 40% to 18%."

Could you please cite where you got this factoid?

And high school is where the rubber meets the road for "choice" (and to a lesser extent, middle school). We don't have pathways because there are fewer high schools and only people who live with blocks could really call them "my neighborhood high school."

Years ago, I talked about how each high school had been allowed to develop its own flavor. Indeed, the high schools are quite different in their offerings and some, in their outlooks. My own sons went to different high schools (we could choose then) because one fit at Roosevelt and one fit at Hale. It would be an interesting experiment to just see who would choose what high school if we had an open choice system for high school (even partially).

I don't believe they really know what Lincoln will do in the present for sports.

I also think that Enrollment really doesn't know/care about programming issues. It certainly doesn't seem like the SAP is being developed with that in mind.

"Even a 'we can't fix this' would be better than 'we didn't think of that."

I agree with that statement. Or "there's nothing we can do to change this."

What we all have to understand is that there is NO way to address everyone's concerns or make everyone happy. When we had choice, 90%+ of people got their first choices. The district says it's the same for the neighborhood plan but I have to wonder with such narrow parameters if that's an apples to apples comparison.

But what is really annoying is when the district does not address - with clarity - each and every academic and programming concern.

It's annoying when you hear a parent question at a forum that either gets some kind of vacuous answer or an incomplete answer. If the district can't answer most of the questions at the forums, they have no business asking for the SAP to be a permanent plan.

Locking the Gap in Stone said...

@Melissa,

I got the factoid from the latest Good Schools Project: "But, in the 17 years Seattle had forced busing, the achievement gap shrank from 40% to 18%. Then we stopped busing. And the gap grew."
https://medium.com/@katyjonesstrange/integration-now-why-we-need-integrated-schools-ideas-on-how-to-get-there-bc566e0eda19

She gives a link to her source, the Stranger article "How Seattle Gave Up on Busing and Allowed Its Public Schools to Become Alarmingly Resegregated" from 2016: "Integration worked in Seattle. In fact, it worked across the United States. As journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones pointed out in last summer's award-winning report "The Problem We All Live With," in 1971 there was a 40-point gap between the achievement of black students and white students in America. In other words, black students scored 40 percent worse on reading tests. In 1988 […]the gap was slashed to 18 percent."
http://www.thestranger.com/feature/2016/04/13/23945368/how-seattle-gave-up-on-busing-and-allowed-its-public-schools-to-become-alarmingly-resegregated

In the transcript for the Nikole Hannah-Jones interview on This American Life, Ira Glass puts it this way: "In other words, on standardized reading tests in 1971, black 13 year olds tested 39 points worse than white kids. That dropped to just 18 points by 1988 at the height of desegregation. The improvement in math scores was close to that, though not quite as good. And these scores are not just the scores of the specific kids who got bused into white schools. That is the overall score for the entire country. That's all black children in America. Halved in just 17 years. When I asked Nikole if that was fast, she was all like, 'Well, black people first arrived on this continent as slaves in 1619. So it was 352 years to create the problem. So yeah, another 17 to cut that school achievement gap in half? Pretty fast.'"
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/transcript

Nikole Hannah-Jones seems like a pretty credible source, but I don't know where she got those specific numbers from. And it turns out they're not specific to Seattle. And they're not specific to black students who attended integrated schools, it was all black students in the nation.

Still, cutting the achievement gap in half is pretty impressive. And it seems like locking elementary to middle school to high school into fixed, inflexible neighborhood-only feeders is going to prevent cross-neighborhood mixing and increase segregation by enforcing mandatory stay-in-your-own-neighborhood requirements. The demographics of the neighborhoods are too segregated. That's the whole problem in Seattle. So forcing students to attend only their neighborhood schools increases segregation in schools. Which will make the achievement gap worse. And I thought closing the gap was some kind of major goal for the district. So, I'm confused by why this is a priority.

kellie said...

@ Locking the Gap,

Your analysis is spot on! I can't confirm the statistics you are citing but I can confirm that creating alignment between middle and high schools will do more to re-segrate Seattle than any other possible option. In fact, I strongly suspect that if someone was intentionally trying to red-line the area, they could not have made a plan this good.

While I am certain that someone downtown thought that aligning middle and high schools would simply be a continuation of the middle school feeder patterns and was potentially a good idea. The reality of executing that idea is probably the worse idea I have ever seen in my 15 years of advocacy regarding capacity. This idea is so bad, that it makes the 3x5 schedule for high school seem utterly brilliant and inspired by comparison.

I need to note that there was a very good reason why the 2009 SAP treated high school as a separate process and that part of the SAP needs to be protected and continued.

By aligning middle and high school in the north end (with presumable a goal of extending this to the SE), you are effectively creating independent and inflexible mini-school districts. The north end would then look like this with a huge divide of resources at 85th.

Lincoln district - with Hamilton and McClure feeder schools
Ballard district - to include the Whitman feeder schools
Roosevelt district - to include the Eckstein feeder schools
Ingraham district - to include the Eagle Staff feeder schools
Nathan Hale district - to include the JAMS feeder schools

The alignment and subsequent boundaries that right size the areas would preclude choice seats. This would mean little or no mixing between the more affluent districts and the poorer districts. It is important to note that in the 2010 census, the highest poverty and most diverse area of Seattle was located in Lake City.

This alignment may have been well intentioned, but it is way outside of the scope of any board approved assignment plan.





Anonymous said...

@Kellie-are you suggesting they toss the baby out with the bath water and start over?

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Kellie,

It's not just the alignment plan, it's the entire neighborhood SAP (for which you have continually advocated) that is at issue.

The alignment plan is taking the SAP and locking it into pathways. The alignment plan didn't cause the segregated schools in SPS--the SAP did. The alignment plan takes the plan to the next inflexible level.

Just a clarification.

Almost Time

Anonymous said...

@Kellie ... are you talking about all 3 of the plans (E,F,H2) or just H2?

N by NW

kellie said...

Fix Al, There are so many reasonable options, that it is quite the mystery why these are the options that are on the table.

N by NW, - H2 is the plan that maximizes middle and high school alignment. However, that said, this alignment is listed as the #2 criteria for the entire plan. It is a terrible, terrible idea with drastic consequences.

kellie said...

@ Almost Time,

There are real issues about segregated schools. However, your ongoing statements about the Student Assignment Plan are simply not true and IMHO, are profoundly distracting to creating any meaningful change.

There are profoundly complex issues around housing and segregation that show up in many places in our society. The entire notion that a Student Assignment Plan is powerful enough to CAUSE those issues is silly. Those issues are there and those same systemic issues show up in our schools day in and day out.

Any capacity briefing I have ever given starts with Seattle's history of red-lining because it is absolutely impossible to understand or address any of today's capacity problems without without an adequate understanding how much of today's problem is directly related to segregation.

Those issues are real and as I have stated many times, the 100% prior plan was an active driver of increased segregation city wide. The prior plan ensured that poor, highly mobile and sped families routinely wound up in the last choice option. Furthermore the structure of the prior plan practically ensured that those last choice schools would never be allocated the resources to improve.

The current SAP is a profound improvement over the old plan. There are fewer high poverty schools and more mid poverty schools. There are many more schools that are more accurate reflection of our city under this plan, than the prior one.

Is this plan perfect? No. Is any SAP perfect? No.

There are so many things Seattle Schools could be doing to make schools better. There are so many opportunities to better balance this system and SPS routinely does not elect to take those opportunities.

The alignment plan takes the 2009 SAP, which is actually a very sound and reasonable document and transforms the Student Assignment Plan into the process you claim it be.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kellie. If only SPS listened...

longtime reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Locking the Gap in Stone, your moniker is too long; please follow our policies for names.

I'll ask the district but The Stranger article jumps from one place of a national gap of 40% to 18% in SPS. I'm going to ask the district.

Yes, the district does send out confusing signals about their values. At the end of the day, what is their true value? Money. It's cheaper and easier to have everyone stay in their neighborhood.

"The north end would then look like this with a huge divide of resources at 85th."

By resources you mean what?

"The entire notion that a Student Assignment Plan is powerful enough to CAUSE those issues is silly."

And again, I always say that expecting public education to solve all problems is folly. They should, of course, be making an effort to move forward and NOT exacerbate
problems but everything cannot fall at their feet. (And hence the move to try to get the SCPTSA to move to end using PTA dollars for staff.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa.

Excellent points.

Almost Time

Anonymous said...

Kellie:

An SAP that is focused almost exclusively on neighborhood schools, without real gerrymandering or REAL choices and option schools (plus only has "choice" on paper)
is most certainly causing a segregated school district. If you prefer the term "exacerbating" to causing, I can see your point.

The trigger for the system may be the redlining and its consequences, but an urban school system with this degree of segregated housing patterns is causing/exacerbating segregation in schools by intention and design. Not only that, the inequity in schools further feeds the housing prices in those neighborhoods and causes a the problem to feed on itself. Read the real estate ads.

Almost Time

kellie said...

@ Almost Time,

Thank you for acknowledging the point about causality. Causality is tricky and it is typically informed by one's point-of-view. There is a huge distinction between does the SAP cause segregation and does the SAP either exacerbate or ameliorate already existing segregation.That second question is a critical question, IMHO and one that is really important to examine as SPS is attempting to make sweeping changes to the SAP in a less than transparent manner.

The definition that I use for opinion is that an opinion is "the intersection of a person's experience and values." As such, I am happy to respect that it is your point of view and opinion that the current SAP exacerbates segregation. I know many people who share that opinion. I do not.

The question about exacerbating or ameliorating is a relative question. Does the SAP make segregation better or worse "as compared to what?"

In an attempt to understand current capacity issues, I have explored decades of prior student assignment plans, including the redlining era, the voluntary desecration program, the 100% choice program, etc. My opinion is based on comparing the current SAP to decades of prior Student Assignment Plans. It is my professional opinion that the current plan does more than any prior plan, as a whole. I have many reasons for that, including watching Tracy Libros do a district wide block by block analysis where she highlighted ALL opportunities to move boundaries in ways that would increase diversity.

Now that said, I am only talking about the plan itself. The document. Not how current staff is interpreting the document and then executing that document.

It is also my opinion that staff has been routinely ignoring the most critical elements of the current SAP, because these elements are administratively cumbersome and the lack of institutional memory has disconnected these elements from the critical purpose they serve.

It is also my professional opinion that the changes that staff is currently proposing to the SAP, will exacerbate segregation in our schools, particularly with regard to poverty. I am strongly opposed to these changes that remove choice and decrease options for families and intensify the divide in our schools.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes it seems like staff look at things too simplistically. For example, they want to minimize the number of higher need students impacted by HS boundary shifts, but they seem to take this to mean minimizing the number of such students IN the areas that get reassigned. Shouldn't they also be looking at the overall schools these students would move to and from as well? Moving hundreds of HCC students out of Garfield and into north end schools that are already well off will likely increase economic disparities as well as academic opportunity disparities. Moving higher need students into a well-off school is arguably the best decision you could make for those students if you really wanted to decrease the opportunity gap. But clearly SPS is only thinking about the logistics of the boundaries, not the programmatic impacts. In their eyes, moving is a 1-time event with a very time-limited impact, when in reality the true impact of these decisions span the 4 years a student is in high school.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that everyone is so anti project based learning. Raisbeck Aviation High School uses project based learning and they are a very challenging school.

HP

Anonymous said...

In my experience, it's not a very challenging school. There are some really bright students there and some great teachers and it provides an opportunity for kids who are really into aerospace to find their people. The school's math and science AP scores are surprisingly low. Project Based Learning takes a lot of time to cover a limited number of concepts and group projects can be very frustrating.

Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

PBL at an option school is very different from PBL as a school philosophy for what is supposed to be a neighborhood, comprehensive high school. SPS also promoted IBX with the possibility of senior year internships - kind of like what they are promoting for Lincoln. LOL. It didn't materialize at IHS. The thought of SPS creating a challenging PBL experience, one that rivals the academic challenge students are currently getting at Ballard and Roosevelt is almost laughable. Fool me once and all that.

PBL skeptic

Not Funny said...

"The north end would then look like this with a huge divide of resources at 85th."

By resources you mean what? Well, sidewalks for one thing. Really classy to draw the dividing line EXACTLY on the line of students whose bodies are worth protecting from vehicles and students whose bodies are not worth protecting from vehicles. The city itself says, sidewalks "add value to private property by providing access to the property and a way to get to other places in the city." So, private property itself is worth more south of 85th. Funny that the district wants to put the SAP dividing line right there. Funny...

Anonymous said...

Why is that people on this blog love the academies at Ballard and then criticize them at Hale? There seems to be a consistent message here that the only good or worthy schools are Ballard and RHS and every school should try to be like them. There are other good SPS models out there at Cleveland, Hale, Ingraham, Sealth etc. Of course Ballard and RHS are the whitest and wealthiest schools, so is that what people are really saying?

-NP

Melissa Westbrook said...

NP, just go right to that race well why don't you? I think it may be that Ballard's are a clearer picture of academies. Also, Hale has just one academy - a 9th grade one and I'm sure that's what people think of when they think academy.

Sealth, on the other hand, has many academies.

One issue on Cleveland for me is that its our only STEM school and I hear very little about it or the partnerships it has with tech in our tech-laden area.

Anonymous said...

@ NP, Ballard's academies are by choice. Hale's is required. That's part of the reason. Forcing kids to retake classes they already aced is lame.

One reason

Hale No said...

Forcing kids to retake classes they already aced is actually beyond lame. It's negligent educating. Anyone who's studied even a lick of pedagogical best practices for gifted students knows that teaching these students generally involves:
* curriculum compacting (which is basically the opposite of requiring them to repeat an entire course they already successfully completed)
* differentiating (uh, not sameifying into one-size-fits-all academies)
* planning for what students will do if they complete work faster than expected

Anonymous said...

NP-go learn about the schools, the academies and the principals before using the race card. There is nothing wrong with students wanting to learn and continue in a pathway. There is something very wrong with leadership no caring about learning scope and sequence and forcing students to retake one or two years of classes to fit in with the mold they have created for EVERY student attending their HS.

Pro Choice

Anonymous said...

@NP--and so your preconceived notions don't blind you you seeing this clearly, please note that these reasons presented above are based on academic fit. In other words, not race. When it comes to educating an academically highly gifted child, most parents know that appropriately leveled instruction is priority #1 for must such kids. their mental health often depends on it.

One reason

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't run a school district based on the needs of academically highly gifted kids. Prioritizing their needs over others is what so many parents on this blog want to do and it neglects everyone else. Academic fit is often a code word in exclusionary Seattle, just my opinion.
-NP

Anonymous said...

And that ^^ is why a pathway is needed. People and administrators with opinions like NP could give a crap about students who don't fit the mold of a school, but they're happy to support policies that force everyone into their notion of what is appropriate.

Pro Choice

Anonymous said...

How is making a student retake two years of classes inclusive?

Pro Choice

Anonymous said...

If you don't serve the needs of high-achieving students, then you are limiting what they can achieve in the long run. Who's going to find cures for diseases or the many problems that plague our planet? Many of our current problems need solutions grounded in science. Global warming, for one. Which is an existential threat to our planet. If you stunt these kids' education during these critical years, you are dramatically reducing an important national resource of people with strong scientific ability down to those attending private schools. You are ensuring that the brains that solve these problems will not come from public school systems.

We have a long history of racism that plays out across our society. Trying to fix all that in the public schools is not only impossible, it isn't wise. If the whole goal of the public schools is to take kids who are at very different levels coming in and produce an identical "widget" at graduation, by closing the achievement gap, it is necessary to hold down a lot of kids. The primary measure of success is closing the gap, and that's what drives sub-optimal education for many, which limits the brain power coming out of public schools. And it doesn't lift the kids at the bottom. They are still not succeeding, even with all this emphasis on supporting them. We need to analyze the problems of equity from a society-wide perspective, and implement solutions everywhere, and not put the entire burden of doing so on a system that is supposed to have education as its objective, but that has been coopted to be the way to fix all of the problems of equity.

It's not working

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't run a school district based on the needs of academically highly gifted kids.

Sorry, @NP, but that's a load of BS. You SHOULD run a district based on the needs of academically highly gifted kids...and the needs of special ed kids, and homeless kids, and ELLs, and low-income kids, and kids from different cultures, and low-performing kids, and average performing kids, and so on. A public school system should be run in a way that accounts for the needs of many different types of students. That sometimes means special programs and services if that's the most effective and/or efficient way to serve them. It does not mean that every student gets an academic experience uniquely tailored to their own personal needs and desires, but it does mean designing appropriate services for each general group of students. Or would you prefer a "majority rules" approach, wherein only the needs of neurotypical, middle class, white students are considered, and everyone else has to make do, since we can't run a district based on their minority needs?

one reason

Anonymous said...

Someone posted this elsewhere, but it looks like a draft of the revised SAP to be considered next week!

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Student%20Assignment%20Plan/SAP%20revisions%202018-19/STUDENT_ASSIGNMENT_TRANSITION_PLAN_2018-19_OperationsTrackedChanges_ada.pdf

one reason

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. Here are my initial thoughts on draft SAP after a quick scan:

1. They are using the old transition plan as the base document, even though the transition plan was a supplemental--not comprehensive--document. We need to be sure important and still-relevant basic info from the original plan is also carried over. The original SAP was a lot longer than this new draft SAP, which makes me suspicious that much is omitted.

2. Placement at your neighborhood school is no longer guaranteed after the deadline--it's space-available basis. Oh, and space availability for assignment area schools isn't really physical space, but based on staffing/budget. For option schools, though, it's physical space? This seems strange.

3. The current draft has HCC students entering 9th grade still getting an automatic assignment to Garfield, even though the draft high school boundary maps do NOT seem to include them in the counts. That's a huge discrepancy.

4. The current draft has HCC students entering 9th grade still eligible to apply to Ingraham IBX, even though it appears that the IBX program won't be continued (removed from their website?). Is IBX an option for students starting Ingraham in 2018?

5. This draft SAP, while no longer considered a "transition plan," is only for the 2018-19 school year, which means it does NOT include a reference to Lincoln in the list of high schools in Appendix A, nor does it deal with the HCC pathways issue--since that change would happen for 2019. This is an incredibly sneaky way to do this. They are making it sound like they're figuring out all the assignment details (inc. access to programs/services) first and will then approve boundaries in conjunction with that (remember all those announcements about how Advanced Learning and HS boundaries are intertwined and need to be considered together?), but in reality they are intentionally NOT making transparent decisions re: that aspect of the SAP and will instead let the boundaries decision make the programmatic decision by default.

Board members cannot allow them to let this happen--they need to make the HCC high school pathways decision FIRST, then develop boundaries that align with their decision. Don't let them pull a fast one on you, Directors!

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Seriously? HCC students will never take another Chemistry class? Is the high school version identical to the middle school version? Unlikely. Is chemistry so monolithic and sequential that students will learn absolutely nothing by taking it again in a different context? Will they be taking chemistry in college, or will they whine about that too? Will they say I already took chemistry 7th grade. I can see math classes being rigidly sequential, but every other subject is so broad that the crying about repeats is kinda stupid, especially for such gifted parents. Where's the outrage for special ed students at Garfield, who have to repeat the exact same math classes... because there's no accommodations for students past Geometry? Where's the outrage for mandates for study skills 1-7, all exactly the same. Starts in middle school and goes on up.

But here we are again. HCC students are the only ones who are going to cure cancer or solve world peace. They deserve primary consideration for everything. Everyone else? Not so much. We can figure them out last, so long as the true planet savers have every choice and every advantage. Heck, they should get band school assignments if they show promise. Ok. That's cool. Let's see those mind blowing test scores going into high school? Let's prove it. HCC kids are mostly winding up at UW, exactly like everyone else. NMSF in HCC, not proportionate to their supposed giftedness. You want something special, you need to walk the walk.

reader

kellie said...

Mel, Now that there is an actual released plan, can you please start another thread. Thank you!

In the meantime ... there is a good reason why every conversation about boundaries and assignment plans quickly devolves into an conversation about HCC. This is not about HCC kids "deserving primary consideration." This is simply about the decision about how advanced learning is placed will impact every single boundary in the district.

Public schools are closed loops systems, with very little flexibility. In other words, the State only funds so many teachers per student and there is only so many ways to divide them up. As such, there are really only two ways that any school district can draw boundaries.

1) The preferred way by districts. You draw crazy boundaries that right size every building and students are just assigned to that building. School and students are not geographically convenient. If you right size every school, you will have boundaries that force many students away from walkable schools to some other school.

2) The preferred way by most parents. You draw reasonable boundaries around most schools that are family friendly. This then leaves many schools with with the wrong number of students. You then place advanced learning programs in schools that are geographically either inconvenient or just located too close to other schools. This is why the State of Washington pays for bussing for advance learning programs. Because it is just expected that you are going to need to bus these students.

There is a good reason why Lincoln was closed in the 80's. It is very close to both Ballard and Roosevelt. Right sizing Lincoln, will push over 1,000 general education students out of their closest high school. One way or another some students need to bussed. It is a simple choice of either encouraging advanced learners to volunteer to be bussed or deciding that a different group is forced to be bussed, based on their home address only.

The bottom line is that assignment plans are very much like a game of musical chairs You either assign everyone a basic chair, or you mix things up so that everyone gets a chair that is a better fit.



Variety said...

Oh, Reader, poor Reader. Chill out. Don't worry, the district handles all this stuff (who qualifies for special ed and HCC and what sorts of classes the qualifying students have available). This way parent's don't have to. It's totally a parent's business to judge if the district is educating their children appropriately. So, you hear a lot of parents kvetching about stuff when the district screws up (or seems really intent on being about to screw up) how a parent's child is being educated. But there's really no need for you to evaluate the intelligence of other people's children or look at their test scores. Sweet of you to be concerned, but it's voyeuristic and weird. The federal and state governments have their say. Then the district says what it provides and who it provides that to. And parents are free to speak up about how well the district is meeting their children's needs.

Many local high schools offer AP chemistry, so, yes - many students do take another chemistry class. In high school. Many actually take chemistry in college as well. There is no benefit to gifted students who have done well in a class and passed it to be forced to repeat it just because other students haven't taken it yet. Decisions about what classes it makes academic sense for a student to take should be based on the specific student in question, not on other students.

And if you want high school assignments based on band and musical promise, I'd get writing to the board if I were you. Same thing if you're outraged about study skills 1-7 mandates.

Everyone else is not ending up at UW. 22% of Seattle students don't even graduate high school. We need a school district that can help those students AND the band students AND the special ed students AND the HCC students. We need a school district that can understand that students aren't widgets for mass production. They're human beings.

Anonymous said...

Oh Variety, you chill out. Ya got me! The plurality of HCC students, like their peers at Hale, Roosevelt, etc will go to UW. My bad! I said the unspecific term "most" when parents of future world leaders need scientific terms like "plurality ". I realize that UW passed up a few HCCers last year. That's kinda the point. If you can't even get into UW, how smart are you really? Let's save 200 seats a Garfield, and let me compete academically for those spots. The rest get the HCC program in their local high schools. You know, looks me Boston Latin.

reader

Anonymous said...

DisApp, a correction: children currently enrolled in an option school are no longer guaranteed a seat in their neighborhood school, unless there is space. If you are enrolling for the first time, you are still guaranteed a seat at your neighborhood school. This seems to actually be protecting option schools. Hurray!
Options matter

Anonymous said...

@ Options matter, that's essentially what I meant, I just didn't say it clearly. And it's not really just re: those at "option" schools, but any "choice" assignment. If you currently have a choice assignment but want to switch to the neighborhood school, it's not a sure bet.

DisAPP

Variety said...

I think it would make awfully good financial sense to have a south end and a north end acceleration option high school where students who (for example) have successfully completed, let's say, Algebra I and Geometry in middle school could opt to attend and the school would agree to have enough math classes to offer them all the way through high school. The successful completion of Algebra and Geometry in middle school would be the academic competition, see? You could also get in via any other number of acceptable-to-the-district ways, like by transferring in from another district with the prereqs, by taking the prereqs at summer school or distance learning classes, whatever. Or you could do it based on reading level. Maybe take students who test in the top 5% on achievement tests or something... huh, wait, that sounds somehow familiar...

Anonymous said...

@ reader, Aha, so you assumed the classes were different and so it might make a little sense to repeat them. An honest mistake, I'm sure. But no, it's the same class. Same curriculum. The biology class HCC students take in 8th grade is the same high school level biology class some want them to take in high school. Did you know that they can even get high school credit for that 8th grade biology class. How would that work--can you get credit twice for an "A" in the same exact class. Probably not. Maybe HCC students will have to start asking for that HS credit to safeguard against being forced to repeat classes.

Oh, and measuring the success of HCC--or rather, the worthiness of HC students?--by the percentage that get into UW is a funny indicator. But ok, let's see the stats if you have 'em.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

The UW can be fairly competitive for some programs, with acceptance rates even lower than at some Ivies - pretty lame that someone is dissing those wanting to get into the UW.

haters gonna hate

Anonymous said...

Competitive colleges typically expect a student to have taken all 3 sciences - biology, chemistry, and physics, with at least one at an advanced level, for 4 years of science. If a student has taken general biology, they could then take AP biology, for example. They take the course again, but at a HIGHER level, not the same darn class again. In college they may retake the entire Calculus sequence, but it's taught at a more advanced level.

NMSF in HCC, not proportionate to their supposed giftedness.

Good golly. Haven't we been through this already??? NMSF = top 1% in state; HCC qualification = top 5% in achievement. Yet which schools had NMSF this year? Garfield (4), Ingraham (4), and Center School (1). Gosh, the pathway/option schools for HCC dominated the NMSF. Only 3 schools in all of SPS had NMSF this year.

haters gonna hate

Anonymous said...

Lots of schools across the state and in cities such as Burien, Bothell, Des Moines, Tukwilla etc. had plenty of NMSF. Interlake HS had 27.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/27-from-bellevues-interlake-high-among-this-years-national-merit-semifinalists/
-NP

Anonymous said...

Maybe they have stronger HC programs and better support their HC students to excel, instead of constantly lowering the ceiling and telling them they aren't really that smart after all?

Justa Thought

Anonymous said...

People, it's probably a good idea NOT to use the Brian Greene-in-the-wings argument as a way to get your HCC SAP desires met for your child.

You are just setting yourselves up for a well-deserved and easy rebuttal. One, HCC is not even a gifted program. Two, all we hear on this blog and the APP/HCC blog is how lame the rigor is in this cohort/pathway. (Many complain that too many average students in HCC are slowing their kid down.) Three, the NMSF numbers compared to the rest of Puget Sound are lame. That's a a no-brainer.

The HC identified students qualify for state sanctioned services to address their needs. Period.

@not working: "Who's going to find cures for diseases or the many problems that plague our planet? Many of our current problems need solutions grounded in science. Global warming, for one. Which is an existential threat to our planet. If you stunt these kids' education during these critical years, you are dramatically reducing an important national resource of people with strong scientific ability down to those attending private schools. You are ensuring that the brains that solve these problems will not come from public school systems."

Correcting this "hyperbole" (to put it generously) doesn't make the messenger a "hater" (to quote the Kellyanne defense).

Don't forget, SPS is currently in the hot seat for excluding many underserved students from HC due to their pathetic identification protocol. Let's get worked up about that instead.

About Time

Anonymous said...

Just-A-Thought, here's another thought, let's put actual gifted kids in our gifted program, and raise the bar. Parents cried and cried to get their kids into Ingraham, and then cried and cried that IBX was too much work... because their kids, future world leaders and cancer curers were just having to work to hard to stay ahead of the Gateses. And now they're crying again because there's no IBX ... after they couldn't hack it. They really seem to just want a pretty easy program that excludes other people who get remedialization. They all look a heck of a lot better when that happens.

Hater, UW acceptance rate is 60%. Yale is 5%. The easiest IVey is Cornell at 14%. UW is nowhere in that league of competitiveness. Sorry. That's the math. UW isn't really all that selective . For people who would chew their right arm off to get into HCC, it's pretty funny when they make a bunch of lame excuses why they don't get accepted anywhere more selective than UW, and sometimes not even that.

And right Hater, all that pissing and moaning about retaking classes. But when nobody's looking, it's all fine and good to take Calculus again in college. Guess the acceleration isn't necessary after all, except as a ticket to somewhere else.

reader

Anonymous said...

Some colleges require that foundational classes in a major be retaken, even if a student has passed an AP exam. These are usually the more selective colleges. They assume you've already had Calculus or Physics or whatever, but they want to ensure it's been taught to their university's expectations. It is not the same as retaking the same class within SPS. It's just not.

The UW can be fairly competitive for some programs, with acceptance rates even lower than at some Ivies

Acceptance to UW is now closer to 45% (not 60%), but admission to selective majors within the university can be under 5%. Under 5%. That's highly selective.

I'm siding with Justa Thought - maybe other districts have better programs and better support students to excel. Not just HC students or struggling students, but all students. All students, meaning all students.

reader said, "Lots of schools across the state...had plenty of NMSF. Interlake HS had 27."
Interlake, the gifted magnet for Bellevue?? Yeah, you'd kind of expect that. Once again, maybe they have better programming overall.

Gifted students need to be taught, just like any other student, in order to excel and progress. Not just cohorted, but actually provided with an academic program.

GH

Anonymous said...

Actually I think NSMF is top 0.5%. It's still kind of weird how few SPS students get it. Maybe one or more of these factors. (1) Kids who score in top 2% cognitively in Kindergarten or other low grades who don't maintain that position relative to their peers (because scoring highly one time was a fluke, because their advantage was in familiarity with those kinds of puzzles, I don't know). (2) Most of the top kids trickling out of SPS over the years. I have some "outlier" type kids who have always been "the smart ones" in their HCC classes and the difference does seem to grow as they get older, and they have had similarly bright friends leave for private school. I really want them to have normal school experiences (and one of them feels very strongly about equity and refuses to even consider private school, which is good since she's right and anyway we can't afford it), but I sometimes feel guilty for sending them to schools that aren't really appropriate for them. But hey, better than what their parents got! (3) The poor SPS education somehow makes kids score worse on standardized tests of basic ability? This one I don't actually believe. I don't know, maybe it could make a little bit of difference on the borderline. There was an article in the Atlantic recently (I think) about how similarly abled kids did similarly even when some went to the "best" NYC high schools and others didn't. (4) The other schools (like Interlake) have test prep or have parents more into test prep.

It's also weird that HCC kids aren't getting into the most selective schools. Didn't their parents go to the most selective schools? You would think in general they'd be able to get into the same schools as their parents. But the educational system today is differently competitive than it was in our day. Really smart kids don't have the advantages they used to (not saying they don't have advantages- they don't have the same advantages). It's easier to get good grades (than it was) without being really smart. It's harder to get good grades (than it was) if you are really smart. There's more emphasis on well-roundedness and being a leader and whatnot. Not saying this is bad. But personally inconvenient for kids who just have high IQs.

hcc/sped/gened parent

Anonymous said...

GH, UW acceptance rate for in state residents at UW is 59%. That would include the HCC cohort. Acceptance into a major does not make the UW a more selective institution. And Ivies also have different selectivity for their individual majors. So let's compare apples to apples. Do you think getting into Wharton School is a cakewalk at U Penn? UW admission typically does NOT include admission to your major. Sure, a very few are admitted to their majors from high school. But it's usually better to spend some time in college before declaring a major. HCC, top 1 percenters should be a slam dunk for UW.

And parent, so "similarly abled kid's result were similar regardless of school" according to the Atlantic. ?? Sounds like a reason to get rid of special perks.

reader

Anonymous said...

Let's not focus only on Interlake. What impressed me about the ST article was the diversity of schools across the state that were producing NMSF students.
-NP

Anonymous said...

Autumn 2017 admission by the numbers at UW:
WA residents - 12,355 applied. 7,290 admitted. 4,450 enrolled.

Also, this fall's application deadline is earlier than last year by 2 weeks. Apps are due by November 15th.
-UWer

Anonymous said...

Well, reader, according to the Atlantic article, the similarly abled kids who went to the top schools got the same scores on AP tests and standardized tests as the ones who didn't. That doesn't mean that high academic ability kids shouldn't have access to appropriate classes (I think this is what you mean by "special perks"?). Maybe it means that having access to appropriate classes won't raise their standardized test scores (IOW, maybe you could say schools don't "produce" NMSF students. They "attract" them, or "retain" them, or "fail to completely screw things up for" them). But there are other benefits to having appropriate classes for the high academic ability students that seem reasonable to want for them. Like for example learning stuff.

hcc/sped/gened parent

Anonymous said...

Here are the 2017 Interlake NMSF

Interlake High School — Bentley, Stephanie; Cao, Lilly; Dong, Richard; Guo, Tina; Huang, Christopher; Jiang, Peishan; Joy, Diya; Lee, Hyunjae; Li, Alexander; Li, Jenny; Liang, Jessica; Liu, Eric; Liu, Richard; Muntianu, Tudor; Rosenwald, Bryce; Roy Choudhury, Ritika; Sitomer, Niharika; Srikanth, Kavya; Trivedi, Aramya; Verma, Saijel; Wang, Grayson; Wijeratna, Aishanee; Wong, Austin; Yang, Michael; Yun, Sterling; Zhi, Sophia; Zou, Grace

Asian students are overrepresented in Bellevue's highly capable program and underrepresented in Seattle's. For all the discussions about HCC demographics on this blog, this is never discussed. Are the parents of gifted Asian students unlikely to enroll their children in Seattle Public Schools?

Missing Students

Anonymous said...

@missing students, please amend your post to remove children's names. You can make your point without naming names.
Not cool

Anonymous said...

@ not cool, they publish the names in the newspaper. It's easy to find every year.

Notta biggie

Anonymous said...

Anecdotally, I have heard of lots of families who work in Seattle, but live in Bellevue to access better schools. The higher quality of their schools has been written up in the paper numerous times so it is not a big secret.

Speaking of anecdotally, I don't think anyone has any statistics on how many HCC kids want to get in to UW and don't get in. So the above discussions are fairly disingenuous. HCC as administered by the SPS has never been a special perk. Our personal experience was that if you can access challenging curricula that is different from SPS approved (many schools do this with waivers), you can do much better than SPS HCC kids. HCC uses the standard SPS curricula that has been chosen based on criteria that appear to be not aimed at best educational outcomes for kids. Regardless, I believe, based on my experience in Gen Ed classes, Spectrum and APP/HCC, that the SPS goes out of their way NOT to serve students seeking advanced learning opportunities - even going so far as to assign some of the more inexperienced or poorer teachers to their classes because the HCC classes are considered easier to manage. So IF it is true that Seattle's HCC students are underperforming it is not surprising. We had to add supplementary teaching for the entire 10 years our kids were in HCC - we had hoped joining HCC would make this less necessary but, if anything, it became more necessary. Your child's educational outcome will be more strongly influenced by the teacher the encounter - not the program. And there are some great teachers in the SPS.

-Tired

Anonymous said...

The NMSF numbers are pretty telling. The test is not about prepping, although kids do prep, but about the ability of students mainly.

My old high school, wher I was one of three NMSF way back in the 70's, had 39 semi-finalists last year. A school with 2000 students.

Seattle Public just doesn't have the brainpower of some other districts or privates.

That's why our huge "gifted" or "highly capable" program is such a mystery to me. $000 thousand students are too "capable" to stay with their neighborhood peers? Yet only a few can qualify for semi-finalist status?

The HCC program appears to many to be nothing but a racist and elitist way for connected parents to get their kids way from "hard to teach" students.

It's really appalling that a "progressive" district like Seattle is so willing to bend to the demands of such parents who seem to be so incredibly selfish. Selfishness is not a public value. Maybe those parents should aplly to Seattle Prep or some other private school that embraces exclusion.

Seitan Steak

Anonymous said...

I am aware the names are published to honor the success of those students. @Missing Students made a racially charged statement and published the names of minors to support it.

To name names of children and suggest that they are more likely to be NMSF because they are Asian should absolutely not be tolerated on this blog.

Not cool

Anonymous said...

This discussion is absurd. If intellectual giftedness is evenly spread across the population and all subgroups, that should mean it's even spread across WA, too. Since SPS has 50k+ students, that's about 4k seniors each year. If the top 1% in the state qualify as NMSF, we should be looking at 40 or so. Whether or not they are/were in HCC is irrelevant, since many HC-identified students don't participate in HCC. So why don't we have those 40?

Is it because the overall Seattle population just isn't as smart as people in other parts of the state? I seriously doubt that. So gosh, what could it be. Maybe...the quality of our academics? Ding ding ding! We have a winner! We may compare favorably to other areas of the state in terms of things like graduation rates or basic test scores, but that just means we're doing a better job of serving those at the lower end. The top end? Not so much.

If you buy the premise that "if those kids are so smart, they should be NMSFs regardless of what sort of education they receive", wouldn't that logically also apply to those HC kids who go unidentified for HCC? Why should they need HCC in order to thrive? If they're so gifted, why can't they qualify for HCC, or why can't they just learn everything on their own and become NMSFs later? Or perhaps educational opportunities DO matter? Hmm.

For the record, my child was in HCC for a few years and found it way too slow-moving, easy, and shallow. We tolerated it for three years, then left. My child insisted on supplementation on the side--through both formal programs and their own independent investigations. When my child later became a NMSF, an SPS school did not receive "credit." To some extent, however, SPS was in fact partly responsible for their qualification, in that by providing such a non-rigorous and uninspiring program it essentially forced my child into pursuing other, more challenging options. So thanks, SPS, for forcing our hand.

gone girl

Anonymous said...

@ Not cool, You may have misread or misinterpreted what the poster said. They didn't say students "are more likely to be NMSF because they are Asian." They said that Asians seem to be overrepresented. You know, just like people say whites are overrepresented in SPS HCC, or that Black/Hispanic/Native American students are underrepresented.

Either Asians are overrepresented in those figures, or they are just flat out smarter.

pick one

Anonymous said...

Typical. HCC parents whining and making excuses for the lack of NMSF's. Oh those Eastsiders outrageously test prepping. No fair.!!! And, the tests are dumb anyway. But OMG. Question the test prepping, private testing, multiple test takes and do overs , their kids totally deserve it. SPSshould always grant them the most that SPS has to offer.. That admissions ticket test. CogAT Well, evidently, its way more valid than the SAT. The A is for aptitude. Guess what folks? Colleges don't use CogAT and you can't pay a doctor or the College Board to get your score.

reade

Cool said...

Asian students are "overrepresented" in the Bellevue school district's highly capable program compared to their proportion general population in Bellevue.

According to OSPI, Bellevue school district's hicap student population had the following demographic makeup:
American Indian/Alaskan Native - 0
Asian - 1252
Black/African American - 4
Hispanic/Latino of any race(s) - 20
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander - 1
Two or More Races - 138
White - 323
Total - 1738

There's nothing racially charged about that. That's just the demographic facts. There are a lot of Asian names among the NMSF students from Bellevue as well. It's actually not an insult to point out this obvious fact. Congratulations to the finalists! I'm sure they worked hard.

Anonymous said...

Pick one, et al.,

On the Eastside, there is a hugely disproportionate number of highly skilled, incredibly smart employees of Microsoft and other tech companies, many of which are recruited from Asian countries and represent some of the smartest people in the 3+ billion population of Asia. Of course, we should expect most of their children to have inherited their intellectual gifts and therefore be likely candidates for the NMSF and other intellectual awards.

For example, I've gone to several state-wide chess competitions for K-12 students. Most of the parents of the statewide champions are immigrants who work in tech fields: Russian, Indian, Chinese, etc. The kids are born smart and their parents push them to work hard to attain the same level of success that their parents attained.

Seattle has some of the same dynamics. I was surprised to find that in my son's elementary HCC class, when they did a wonderful project on family heritage, to find that many of the parents were immigrants, mostly working in tech or academic fields.

Momof2

Cool said...

The "A" in SAT used to be for "aptitutude"--now it's for "assessment."
See https://www.psychologicalscience.org/pdf/ps/Frey.pdf?origin=publication_detail
In which they say, "it appears that the SAT is a better indicator of g [general intelligence] than are some of the more traditional intelligence tests."

And the study's conclusion:
"Overall, the results of these studies support two major findings. First, the SAT is an adequate measure of general intelligence, and second, it is a useful tool in predicting cognitive functioning when other estimates of intelligence are unavailable, too time-consuming, or too costly. One implication of these results is that it might be more useful if the SAT were reported as a score on a general factor, plus separate math and verbal subscale scores.1 Using the regression equations presented here, SAT scores can be converted to estimates of IQ. These estimates are especially useful in studies of college students when a rough measure of g is needed. Although it would be perfectly acceptable to use SAT scores without conversion, conversion to an IQ score provides a basis for comparing studies."

Anonymous said...

I agree with Not Cool. The point can be made and we can have the discussion without singling out children by name. These posts show up in Google results.

privacy matters

Anonymous said...

@reade-what are you talking about? Nobody is making excuses, they are saying SPS does in fact suck, especially for advanced learners, and that curriculum and rigor needs to be improved for all SPS students. It seems folks are in agreement on that point. You just looking for an excuse to be a jerk. Rather than waste time trying to undermine 2% of our total student population, why not get onboard with finding ways to identify more HC students in under represented populations and improve educational experiences and outcomes in every school, program, classroom? This would be a better use of everyone's energy.

Titanic

Anonymous said...

@ Momof2, but many people here don't like to acknowledge that inheritance plays a role in intelligence. It's not cool. Everyone has the same potential, regardless of genetics (and, apparently, science).

pick one

Anonymous said...

@ reader, you're becoming incoherent. Breathe.

Logically, it's either that Eastsiders are innately more intelligent and that's why they do better on that one measure, or those kids have better (or at least more test-oriented) educational opportunities than kids in Seattle. Which is it--genetics, or environment? Or perhaps a combo?

That's not whining, it's just logic.

pick one

Anonymous said...

...SPS goes out of their way NOT to serve students seeking advanced learning opportunities - even going so far as to assign some of the more inexperienced or poorer teachers to their classes because the HCC classes are considered easier to manage. So IF it is true that Seattle's HCC students are underperforming it is not surprising. We had to add supplementary teaching for the entire 10 years our kids were in HCC...

Affirming that has been our experience as well. Students end up self teaching and/or teaching their peers, while the teacher plays easy on the grading, which further masks the poor performance of the teacher. When I see the list of NMSF, I think, good for them - they managed to achieve in spite of SPS.

ATP
(another tired parent)

Anonymous said...

Very true. Of the 6 kids I know from the most recent list of NMSFs, all 6 participated in challenging enrichment opportunities outside their public school district.

The NMSF is not a test of academic giftedness. Most students who are not academically gifted would have a hard time qualifying, but many students who are academically gifted may lack the opportunities required to break into the top 1% statewide.

Seattle's lower numbers are an indictment of our program, not our kids.

gone girl

Road Ahead said...

This fetishization of NMSF is absurd. I can't for the life of me remember if I was a commended scholar or a semi finalist. I can't remember my PSAT scores, either. You get a decade or two on and who in the world could? Whatever I was it wasn't an NMSF. You don't need it to have a class ranking that is extremely high, to get into the Ivy League schools you apply to, to win merit-based scholarships that can be very helpful, to earn multiple graduate degrees or competitive national grants or have a very accomplished post-high-school life.

Everyone's not in the top .5% nor should they be. What craziness! Doesn't mean a district (especially a big one) shouldn't offer some kind of gifted ed to the top 2% or 5% or whatever. There's certainly no rational basis for forcing them to repeat schoolwork they've already easily and successfully accomplished.

I quite liked this recent article on what becomes of high school valedictorians:
http://time.com/money/4779223/valedictorian-success-research-barking-up-wrong/

Anonymous said...

A couple of things about National Merit SF. It’s because of ACT.

Traditionally SAT was popular and favored by coastal states, particular the eastern states. Midwest preferred ACT.

Well that changed and ACT is now preferred over SAT and is the main reason why we now have the newly revamped SAT. As kids prefer ACT over SAT, many of them just don’t bother with the PSAT or don’t take it seriously (the money as merit scholars isn’t all that anyway). There is a SAT residual effect among certain small groups of parents who believe SAT is preferred by the Ivies. No. No. No. I have no idea why parents believe this, but it’s hard to combat the misinformation.

Anyway, as the new SAT normalize and gains back market share, we may start seeing more NMSF.

another reader

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/05/24/in-race-for-test-takers-act-outscores-sat--for.html

Anonymous said...

Wow. So the cohort/pathway model doesn't provide any meaningful educational benefits?

That seems to be the defense/consensus here to explain why just *four* NMSF came out of the HCC pathway.

Time to rethink the entire HCC model, including identification, exiting students when needed, multiple testings for appeals, and self-contained services.

(Btw, printing the names of the students as a distraction/stereotype is a new low here.)

About Time

Anonymous said...

PS: STOP counting number of NMSF and use that to judge educational quality. You all gonna make yourself constipated for no good reason.

another reader

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhhh. Now we hear another excuse, and we must have heard it all!!!!! HCC students/parents, best and brightest, future world leaders, most deserving of all the kids, willing to protest in masse, willing to chew off their arm to "test" into the cohort, willing to take multiple bus rides to school, uphill both ways, in the snow in the winter,.... they just don't WANT to be National Merit scholars. They love and thrive on challenges and all, but just not that challenge. No challenge on the one that counts please!

Why not? They really just love the ACT so much more, it would somehow be test infidelity to take the PSAT! (PSAT is given at every high school, during the school day. Nothing special required.). We're now to believe the HCC cohort didn't do well on the on the PSAT .... because they were consumed with the ACT they didn't even participate in the PSAT. (it's given at a different time... but whatever). It's so much better to take the ACT, there's no award associated with it. Nobody will ever have an inkling of your scores.


reader

Anonymous said...

Harker School, one of the top private schools in the U.S. and home to numerous Intel and Siemens semi-finalists and finalists, had 25% of seniors qualify as National Merit semi-finalists this year.

Would any intelligent person think that Harker wasn't a school for the highly academically gifted, because 75% of seniors didn't qualify?

Bronx Science has the most Nobel Prize-winning alumni of any public high school in the U.S.
yet they only had 17 NMSF in 2017.

Being an NMSF isn't the measuring stick for program quality.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2011/03/13/san-joses-harker-the-it-school-for-our-next-einsteins/

app

Anonymous said...

@ About Time, seriously? C'mon. So the cohort/pathway model doesn't provide any meaningful educational benefits? As people have long said--and you've been around to hear it--the program isn't very rigorous, but at least there's a cohort to provide a little bit of extra challenge. Is the cohort enough? I don't recall people saying that, and it sure wasn't for my kid. Is the cohort better than nothing? Absolutely, because at then you kid has at least a shot at finding another kid who's as into some of the same things or is at their level in something. Without the cohort, not so likely. I know you know this. So yes, the cohort DOES provide meaningful educational benefits--just not enough to overcome the programmatic/instructional deficiencies within the SPS program. SPS is succeeding in slowing HC kids down, limiting their opportunities, in an effort to reduce the gap. Other districts seem to do a much better job of trying to actually help these kids grow and thrive, so it's no wonder they produce more NMSFs. It's really pretty straightforward.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Not only did the HCC cohort not perform well on the PSAT, they didn’t perform well despite all the benefits accrued to them. So if they can’t pass muster despite having a cosseted and exclusive experience, then how much “genius” is at stake here, and is it really worth the aggravation to the district when the results it produces are meager and non existent.

For progress

Anonymous said...

Several years ago my son was scheduled to test for the gifted high school program at Interlake. As I recall, the eligibility bar for out-of-towners was extremely high, and this seemed to be reflected in the program options. I had a nice long conversation with the program director about what my son could do since he was going to be done with all their math options years early, and the director said they'd have to come up with some sort of independent study math opportunity for him instead, so he could continue advancing at his pace. He said "if he needs higher level math, we'll have to figure something out." Coming from SPS, that blew me away. Can you imagine an SPS teacher, principal, or administrator ever saying something similar? Ha! But this experience provided me with a little glimpse into how differently districts often treat their HC students, and it does not surprise me at all that Interlake would have more NMSFs. I imagine their students do better on all sorts of measures, as they seem to be much better supported and challenged academically. I also get the sense BSD prides itself on having high-performing students, whereas SPS seems to consider the existence of HC students a dirty little secret.

HM

Anonymous said...

@ For progress, too bad you're not for reasonable thinking. NMSF results are relative. Students are compared to all the other students in the state. When we're talking about NMSF, we're specifically talking about other high-performing students across the state. Are you suggesting that SPS HCC students somehow receive more benefits than HC students in other districts? That SPS's highly capable program is superior to those elsewhere? Many of the prior posters have reported experience contrary to that, and all the anti-HCC rhetoric in Seattle seems consistent with a lack of support for HC students. I believe the absence of an HCC curriculum was noted as a weakness in an evaluation nearly a decade ago, yet there has been no effort to correct that. Instead, in the years since, there have instead been efforts to reduce the opportunities for acceleration and depth. If SPS HCC students receive fewer benefits, such as via an inferior program, they are disadvantaged compared to other HC students and would be expected to perform more poorly. Why is it so hard to acknowledge that we have a weak program and that impacts our outcomes? That doesn't mean we never needed a program in the first place, just that it needs to be improved. Why do you find such glee in the idea that SPS students--HCC and otherwise--are not performing as well as other districts that are committed to their highest achievers?

Strange Behavior

Anonymous said...

@HM-I met a mom last spring who lived on the Peninsula, then Bellevue, and now Madrona. She was so relieved to move out of Bellevue because she was having a hard time as a single mom being called in at least weekly to get her son on track to be performing well in school. She was aggravated and felt shamed by the BSD approach of being very hands on and making sure her boy doesn't fall behind. She feels so much more comfortable now that she is at SPS. Her son can fall through the cracks and nobody will give a crap.

Back 2work

Anonymous said...

Nobody will give a crap? On the contrary, I think some here would actually cheer.

HM

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it is the highest scorers jumping ship. That doesn't mean there's no educational benefit to HCC. Do you want to get rid of it so that only high scorers who have rich parents can get an appropriate (kinda) education (by moving or going private)? Not very equitable. Or should we improve it so that our public school kids can be well-served?

Or, if I'm wrong and SPS actually lowers people's PSAT scores, then what "strange behavior" said.

hcc/sped/gened parent

Top Two said...

The distinctions between the top .5% and the top 2% are apparently very confusing to some.

So, let's look at an example. The top .5% for height in the U.S. is 6'6" for men and about 6'1" for women based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2007-2008. If you're somewhere around the average height (between 5'8" and 5'9" for men and between 5'4" and 5'5" for women), I guess all people taller than you just seem, well, taller than you. But the thing is that tall people are actually able to tell the difference. Who knew, right?

So, if you're 6'4" you can tell that someone who's 6'6" is taller than you and that someone who's 6'2" is shorter than you. Even though all three of these people might just seem "tall" to some.

People in the top .5% for height (men who are 6'6" or taller and women 6'1" or taller) are really tall. Did they just keep measuring themselves over and over again until they got a really tall measurement? Did they pay someone licensed to measure human height to measure them? Maybe shorter people aren't 6'6" because they're not trying hard enough or don't have enough grit? Maybe there's some kind of hereditary component? Maybe people who are 6'6" just ate a lot of nutritious food? Does it matter? If they gave out scholarships to people who are in the top .5%, people who are in the top 2% (over 6'4" for men and around 5'11" for women) will still be tall even if they're in the 98-99.5 percentile. They'll still be tall. They'll still have trouble finding a bed or a car they fit in or clothes with sleeves or pants legs long enough. Things that are one-size-fits-all don't fit people in the top 2% very well.

Here's the part that applies to education: Things that are one-size-fits-all don't fit people in the top 2% very well.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"For all the discussions about HCC demographics on this blog, this is never discussed."

I talk about how Asians somehow are no longer considered a minority when talking about HCC all the time. It's a mystery to me.

Seitan Steak, getting dangerously close to name-calling. You might want to watch that.

"On the Eastside, there is a hugely disproportionate number of highly skilled, incredibly smart employees of Microsoft and other tech companies, many of which are recruited from Asian countries and represent some of the smartest people in the 3+ billion population of Asia. Of course, we should expect most of their children to have inherited their intellectual gifts and therefore be likely candidates for the NMSF and other intellectual awards.

For example, I've gone to several state-wide chess competitions for K-12 students. Most of the parents of the statewide champions are immigrants who work in tech fields: Russian, Indian, Chinese, etc. The kids are born smart and their parents push them to work hard to attain the same level of success that their parents attained."

Just "born smart" huh? That is appalling.

I'm ending this discussion here as it as simply disintegrated into a lot of unpleasant back and forth.